Trump fulsomely welcomes Emir of Qatar to the White House

Trump fulsomely welcomes Emir of Qatar to the White House

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WASHINGTON: On Tuesday, US President Donald Trump welcomed the Emir of Qatar to the White House, barely one year after alleging his government funded terrorism at a “high level.”

Drawing a line under a spat that called into question the future of a key US air base in the Gulf State, Trump hosted Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani in the Oval Office.

“He’s a friend of mine,” Trump said fulsomely, “he’s a great gentleman.”

A year ago, the picture was way different. Trump had followed the lead of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates in taking a hard line against Qatar, saying the country needed to scale back ties with Iran and stop funding extremism.

Qatar’s neighbors had also been exasperated by its willingness to host dissidents from across the Gulf and to allow broadcasts critical of them by Doha-based Al Jazeera.

Trump had initially supported an economic blockade on Qatar, but aides — mindful of the pivotal role that the Al Udeid Air Base outside Doha plays in US Middle East operations — have since convinced him to take a more moderate approach.

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